Provost Promise Fellowship

The Provost Promise Fellowship recognizes exceptionally worthy PhD applicants who come from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in higher education, who are intellectually curious and fiercely persistent, possess attributes which may fall outside of more traditional admissions criteria, and who may be perfectly situated to contribute to the rich learning environments we wish to cultivate and sustain at the University of Rochester. As such, these fellows possess immense promise with respect to contributions to scholarship and research during graduate training and as future members of the academy. In addition, admitting departments and programs promise to provide fellows individualized support, guidance, and training in order to maximize their individual and professional development.

The Provost Promise fellowship provides up to two consecutive years of University stipend support at $21,000/year. Departments are encouraged to supplement these funds. A second year of University funding is contingent on satisfactory performance in the first year. While funds must be expended within the first two years, it is expected that the department will continue to provide stipend support to the student after the fellowship period has ended as part of their commitment to their fellow.

How to Apply

Applications are due early March each year.

To apply, send a single pdf file to Melissa Sturge-Apple at and include:

  • Complete PhD application portfolio, including interview data
  • Detailed nomination letter from the program director/department chair, indicating:
    • The applicant is from an underrepresented group in the field (specify)
    • Details regarding the ways in which the applicant demonstrates excellence and promise (e.g., individual’s college and research experiences, key relationships, leadership experience, service to the community, and life goals)
    • A detailed program of individualized academic support that will be provided and funded by the department/program

Nominations will be reviewed on the basis of department/program support and the applicant’s potential outside of traditional admissions criteria. Selection will be made by the University Dean of Graduate Education in consultation with the Provost and the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion. If an offer is to be made, the offer letter will be developed in consultation with the PhD program leader.